Making Mashed Potatoes Even Better!

It’s probably no secret that I am a carb eater. Rice, potatoes, and, in the old days, sourdough bread were always the stars of my eating repertoire. While things have changed in my world, they haven’t changed that much. I still believe potatoes are one of nature’s (gluten-free) perfect foods.

And in my pantheon of potato dishes, I rank mashed potatoes at the top. Not only are they delicious, but they also remind me of my grandmother, an amazing cook. Even my mother, a dedicated non-cook, makes great mashed potatoes. It’s clearly a family tradition! Continue reading “Making Mashed Potatoes Even Better!”

Individual Nachos

I love nachos, but they don’t love me. If they did, then the platter wouldn’t be so overstuffed with deliciousness! It’s really hard to practice portion control when you’re facing all those chips.

To make my life easier, I love to make individual nachos. These handheld bites have everything that makes a nacho great: crispy corn tortilla chip, meat or beans or both, tangy salsa, cheese, sour cream, olives if you wish. They’re perfect for leftover meats like pulled pork. And, of course, they’re gluten free!

These nachos are also great for parties where you don’t want to serve a big messy platter of food. Figure three chips (or one corn tortilla) per guest, and load them up with your favorite toppings!

Chicken Paprikash

Since I’m half Hungarian, I’d like to pretend that I’ve been making this dish since birth. The truth is I’ve only been making it for a few years. While you can make it spicy with the addition of cayenne or hot paprika, I like the way the onions and paprika mellow into a slightly sweet and smoky dish. Some dishes don’t need to be spicy hot!

This version uses chicken on the bone (I generally use thighs because they are so good and relatively inexpensive), but you can substitute boneless meat. The volume of onions will seem huge, but they cook down pretty quickly. The longer the onions braise, the more they melt into the sauce.

If you’re making this for a party, transfer the browned meat and onions to a crockpot and cook on low for several hours. I prefer using cut-up boneless thighs if I’m making this for a party.

Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

There are certain times of year when I crave this salad. Sometimes it’s due to the hot weather and a desire for the cold, crisp crunch of iceberg lettuce. Sometimes it’s because I want to indulge in the absolute creamy, salty flavor of the dressing. Sometimes…it’s both.

I love serving this salad at barbecues because it’s easy to make for a crowd. It’s also the perfect accompaniment to a well-cooked steak. And, of course, the blue cheese dressing can be used on other types of salad.

I know there is some concern in the gluten-free community about whether or not blue cheese is gluten-free. Generally, these cheese are safe to eat. For your information, I discuss this issue and list blue cheeses that are gluten-free here (and a few that are not) here.

Easy Turkey Enchiladas

I started making turkey enchiladas many years ago as a way to use up turkey leftovers after Thanksgiving. They are amazingly fast to pull together, meaning you’ll impress family and friends with something that seems complicated but is super-easy (don’t tell!). And these enchiladas are naturally gluten-free.

If you don’t have turkey, substitute leftover chicken. Or make them vegetarian with grilled or roasted vegetables. While I like to do the traditional rolled-up version of enchiladas, sometimes, I substitute what I call an enchilada pie: I layer tortillas, sauce, meat or veggies, and a bit of cheese (sort of like a lasagna). When made like this, the end result reminds me of chilaquiles.

Be prepared to work assembly-line style by having all your ingredients lined up and ready to go before you get started.

A note about store-bought enchilada sauces: to my surprise, many of the sauces I see on market shelves are not gluten-free. In this recipe, I use tomatillo salsa with some green chiles in place of green enchilada sauce — I love how it adds tanginess to the dish. For enchiladas made with a red sauce, I start with my own Red Chile Sauce, adding flavors to suit my mood.

Twice-Baked Potatoes

Twice baked potatoes are a fun way to make our friend the potato something special. If you use a microwave to cook the potatoes, this comes together pretty quickly on a weeknight.

The key to twice baked potatoes is what you do with your mashed potato filling (plus, well, that sprinkling of cheese on the top of the potatoes). You can go as basic as salt, pepper, and butter. Or you can fancy your potatoes up with Greek yogurt or sour cream. Whatever strikes your tastebuds.

Croque-Madame

A Croque Madame is, basically, an open-faced sandwich. A bit of sliced ham, a freshly fried egg, some tasty sauce…and you have a quick meal. In this gluten-free version, you simply use GF bread as the base of your sandwich.

Traditionally, this sandwich is made with ham. I actually prefer to use thinly sliced turkey when I’m in the mood for a lighter, less salty taste. Of course, once you have the basics down, you can play with the ingredients to suit your needs.

One other note: traditionally, a bechamel sauce is used. I prefer using a tangy substitute to save time.

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